Ovulatory Dysfunction

Ovation partner physicians can diagnose and treat female infertility caused by ovulatory dysfunction.

Ovulatory dysfunction isn’t just one condition. The term refers to a variety of different conditions that cause irregular or even no ovulation.

A large number of patients who are treated by Ovation® Fertility partner physicians have ovulatory dysfunction. Luckily, it is one of the easiest conditions to treat, and the vast majority of patients who receive treatment eventually conceive.

Ovation partner physicians suspect ovulatory dysfunction when a woman has a history of irregular periods.

Most women have regular menstrual and ovulatory cycles that occur about every 27-30 days and are accompanied by symptoms like cramping and sometimes mid-cycle discomfort.

Women with ovulatory dysfunction do not have regular cycles. Usually their cycles range from 30-90 days or more, and they will rarely experience menstrual cramps or discomfort in the middle of their cycle. However, they may experience milky breast discharge and increased hair growth on their face and body.

It’s important to determine the cause of ovulatory dysfunction.

If you come to an Ovation partner physician with ovulatory dysfunction, your physician will use your patient history and lab results to determine the cause of the problem.

Some of the causes of ovulatory dysfunction include hyperprolactinemia, hypothyroidism, hypothalamic dysfunction and polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS.

To determine which condition is causing your ovulatory dysfunction, your physician may order blood tests to evaluate your thyroid function, examine your androgen levels and measure your levels of a pituitary hormone known as prolactin.

Each cause of ovulatory dysfunction is treated differently.

If your test results show elevated prolactin levels, you have a condition known as hyperprolactinemia. In this case, your physician may recommend an evaluation of your pituitary gland to rule out a tumor as the cause of excessive prolactin production. If a tumor is the cause, it is most likely benign and can be treated with medications called dopamine agonists.

If your blood work shows that a thyroid disorder, such as hypothyroidism, is causing your ovulatory dysfunction, your physician will likely treat you with thyroid replacement therapy.

Your fertility doctor may make a diagnosis of PCOS if you have a chronic failure to ovulate and display excessive androgen production or polycystic ovaries. Treating ovulatory dysfunction caused by PCOS involves the use of clomiphene citrate or gonadotrophins, and sometimes metformin in patients with glucose intolerance.

Hypothalamic dysfunction is a less-common cause of ovulatory dysfunction, and it is often seen in women with a low percentage of body fat. The most common course of treatment is administering progesterone to induce menses. Clomiphene citrate and human menopausal gonadotrophins are also sometimes used to induce ovulation.

The causes of ovulatory dysfunction are highly treatable, and the vast majority of patients are able to conceive after treatment. If you would like more information about treatments for ovulatory dysfunction, please contact an Ovation partner physician.